Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Latest conversation/mistress update

I meant to post this a few days ago but our phone line was broken and thus the dial-up was not working either. The day after the wood splitter came home we were eating dinner and discussing the wonderful splitter when Matthew came up with a brilliant idea......"Hey dad! Next year you can make a sawmill!" There were many screams of dismay and Charley leaned over and gave him a big hug stating something about how he was his hero. Soooo......if he makes a saw mill, does Charley have a harem??? Sigh. Life with an ADD hyper engineering husband is VERY interesting.

Oh, I got a saw for Christmas. You read correctly. It is a scroll saw from my dear husband. I have a picture of my mom with her mouth hanging open when I opened it. He gave it to me and before I opened it she said, "I bet it's a saw." and.....she was right. I don't think she expected to be right. I will attempt to use it. Years ago, when I only had two children, I was interested in having a scroll saw and Charley remembered this. It has been an obsession lately of his to try to surprise me. He did. I was thinking some sort of ornaments etc. would be interesting to make. I am in quest for patterns. I am also open to ideas of uses for scroll saws. Maybe I could make a scale model of a wood splitter and give it to Charley to use as a paper weight at work.

That's all for now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Charley's mistress has come home


For the last seven or so weeks my dear husband has in his spare time been across the street with his mistress - his mistress is a wood splitter that he concocted from MANY pieces of junk from our dear neighbor Jim. Jim is an all things tools collector and has a lot of cast offs from large and small machinery. It is really quite amazing. So out of this stuff, Charley made a wood splitter. I call it his mistress as he has been spending more time with it than me. (Maybe that is why I am depressed). I would love to put the movie of this thing on here but dial-up takes forever. Maybe later. I am including at least of picture of her for your viewing pleasure. The movie really does a better job though. Now she is here on the property and soon will be splitting wood to pay for her keep (the expense of making her).


Now the good news is that Charley has been home a little more and all the things that have been making me crazy are becoming really crystal clear to him and he is making comments like "So-and-so child's behavior is making me crazy." and my knowing smirk and eyes bugging out of my head is my response. If my eyes seem a little stressed it is because they have been bugging out a lot the last few days. Remember the lunatic wife that called you at work dear????? Your mistress is voiceless (loud but voiceless) but what only seemed like an insane wife was really a testimony of the realities of the activities of home. Crazed laughter happens after these statements......nuf said.
Isn't his mistress attractive? She is pretty thin in places too but very loud and messy.

More perserverance

Nothing too amusing today. Well, it is true, I just got home with supplies to make Chex Mix and my husband had the box open and was munching on the supplies before I even made it in the door. Hmmmm......

We finally went to winterize the bees as it was 60 degrees today. The bees are fortunately alive and then we visited with the farmer where the bees are at.

I personally do not feel like doing anything today so we will chalk that up as part of some winter blahs or something. I did consider that post partum blues were rearing their ugly head but dear husband squelched that as the baby is four months old you know. I told him that it is still possible and then he said again that that did not make sense. I said.....how about exercising your sympathy muscle and he said that I married the wrong guy for that and that he was not good at sympathy. He is right and I told him that ironically I married him because he was not a very emotional guy and knew what he wanted to do in life etc. Is this making any sense? We were laughing about his need to analyse the possibility of whether my problem was a post par tum thing. Hmmmm......life is interesting. At any rate I hate this feeling of not wanting to do anything but I am sure it is nothing a good walk won't help. I also am wishing our break was going to be longer but these kids need an education you know......

Now it is time to face the hungry monster, namely seven kids who think dinner is on the way. Pizza? Homemade that is.......

Friday, December 26, 2008

In defense of the mom

The last few weeks has been a blur but I am thankful it has been a somewhat less painful blur this year. One thing that I have most appreciated is the decision we made several years ago to exchange gifts after the first day of Christmas. The tree was up a week ago and was just plain old pretty with no gifts under it. It strikes me that the household happiness seems to be centered on what 'the mom' is able to orchestrate and having one less thing on this mom's list helped make things more enjoyable to me. Why should the mom's Christmas be a time of stress and questioning of what she is able to get done? What she hasn't gotten done. When my dear friends tell me they haven't even started making out Christmas cards it is only with compassion and understanding that I smile in return. I suppose I tire of the world's expectations of 'how things are supposed to be done'. I personally have a small stack of cards that haven't made it out yet and this seems to be true every year. I always sort of gaze at that stack and think "Hmmmmm, I hope those poor people receive their card from me this year as it may get shoved aside in light of other pressing things." Sometimes these 'things' are not even pressing but merely time I have taken to rejuvenate myself for the weeks of school ahead. Is 'the mom' allowed to do this and not feel guilt or pressure to perform? I hope so. I took an accidental nap this afternoon. This was either the result of too many cookies or from allowing myself to actually sit down with my youngest children and watch an old tv sitcom with them. Naps happen.

Right now I am sitting on a bucket in my kitchen with sleeping Ingrid on my nap. I have fish chowder cooking away on the stove top and most of the dishes from yesterday are getting under control. Why sweat the dishes too much on the second day of Christmas? I have been thinking depressing thoughts too of how I have SOOO looked forward to celebrating the twelve days of Christmas with the daily services at church but am bummed at the condition of our road. It is downright dangerous out there. There are four or five inches of ice from the melt downs and deep freezes with freezing rain on top. We foolishly braved it this morning and I was not in fear of our lives but was not looking forward to the deductible and the possibility of even hitting another car. Sigh. Tomorrow morning is not looking much more hopeful with fog. I can not see the ice changing too much overnight but will stumble down the drive to access things in the morning.

That is all for now. The cards still lay on the piano bench where I left them last Thursday and maybe I will blow the dust off the last few in the next few days if I am not reading a book or enjoying my friends and family.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gilligan's Island strikes again


During a very long bout of ten people suffering from stomach flu, I invested in a very valuable TV collection......Gilligan's Island. The kids love it. I think I have mentioned that before. It is the first season edition and Benjamin particularly loves the episode where this Mr. Surfer dude surfs on a Tidal wave from Hawaii to the Island.


Today my parents gave dear little Benjamin a very cool sled. He opens it and turns to my parents and says "Yippee! A surf board!!!!" We were all very surprised and then of course I had to explain his obsession with Gilligan's Island. What little boy, who has rarely left Northern Indiana would be excited that his grandparents got him a surf board???? Of course this was worth a lot of laughs and no he didn't think we were laughing at him but was rather more excited to learn it was a sled. Martin got one too and they REALLY are fantastic sleds. They spent the latter part of the afternoon zooming down our hill and into the field. It was the best sledding ever in our yard. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!!!

Random humorous happening

The following story is prefaced by letting you all know that last summer we were not able to go camping at Ludington State Park due to a flood in that area.

Last week while we were preparing for our little vacation, Matthew was packing the first aid kit for the van or rather he was inventoring it. There was a bottle of meds he didn't recognize so he asked, "Mom, what is Senne?" (generic brand) "Well......that my dear is what you give people when they are feeling constipated." Predictable next question as we generally do not have family discussions on bowel habits......"What is constipated?"asks the son. "Well......(being sort of childish and immature, giggling) son, it is a problem that is more common to people on vacation and it helps you "go" on vacation. You know.......gooo......" So my other dear son who is less likely to pick up on me making little quotes in the air or might not read into what I was immaturely saying suddenly blurts out "Aw Mom! Why didn't you give us that medicine last summer then we could have gone on vacation!" He was serious and I was busting a gut on the floor. I laughed on and off for days after this lovely conversation. His conclusion makes sense.......

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Too short a visit


This is Mary eating up her time with Ingrid. We had another nice visit with them today. Their son and daughter-in-law also came over to visit and it was as always good to see them. Charley had plenty of time to share his new love (his wood splitter) with his PA friends. There seems to be a general love of wood splitters in this state. I am happy for him. I suppose it is more bonding to share wood splitter information with folks who love them as much as you do.
I caught up on all the family news with Mary and Pam. The kids ate almost literally all day. I can't even think about eating more food right now.
This evening we went to Kurt and Cindy's and had a very nice visit. They are dairy farmers and they know what it means to work. More wood splitter talk there and Cindy and I chatted about their son's college adventures, life changes etc. She is an editor for Taste of Home too and she expressed disappointment in recent changes made there. I was intrigued and did not mention that I liked the last issue. Hmmm.... Cindy is another friend who it would be nice if they lived closer to us. Wouldn't that be great if all my friends lived near by. Nearly two years between visits is too long. Cindy didn't know about Ingrid until the other day when our Christmas letter came in the mail. They were pleasantly surprised.
I am now sitting in the hotel watching M*A*S*H reruns. The kids are introduced to another mommy past time. And here they thought Gilligan's Island was the best thing in TV.
Erik ran around taking pictures of everything on the farms we visited. He had a blast. He could write a book documenting all things old on farms. We kidded Floyd that we could send him copies for his records.
That's all for today. Tomorrow is a VERY busy day. Ingrid wants to go to bed too so nighty, nighty.

Visiting friends


We are on a brief trip to Pennsylvania to visit some friends from Charley's growing up days. It is difficult to explain how near and dear to our hearts Mary and Floyd are and it will be very difficult to say goodbye to them this time. They are like another set of parents to us. We saw them yesterday afternoon and their limitations are more obvious this time. Since we last saw them Mary has had a stroke and heart surgery. She looks good but hearing Floyd express his concern for her put my antennae up to not wear her out. They are both 77 this year. Floyd also had his health challenges the last two years. Mary and I had a laugh over their new exterior wood burner. If you know about wood burners, she used to have an ancient one in their basement and she would be the one to haul the wood in, pitch it down the stairs and load it several times a day. Well, while she was in the hospital, Floyd had to do this and took notice of how difficult this was. They now have a new exterior wood burner which is loaded right next to the wood pile. Interesting. He is doing the loading too. She is a good sport and we shared the amusement of the sudden change. 50 plus years of hauling wood, I cannot imagine how many tons of wood she has carried. At least the wood we burn is carried right next to the burner.


We will see them a little bit today and some more tomorrow but can see that with Christmas this week, I would rather not wear her out so she can enjoy her family. Despite teasing Floyd about the burner it is also obvious how much he cares for her and this is a man with a reputation for his orneriness. I thought I took a picture of Ingrid with Mary but will have to do that today.
Not to slight the Rodenbeck's, we did have a great little visit with them as well. Poor Erik misunderstood my picture taking instructions and took probably twenty little videos of their trip to a local museum. No wonder they took so long to take...... I love visiting with friends who are accommodating to our overwhelming crowd and especially appreciate their willingness to take us in. The roads were pretty messy on the way there and the wind blew and blew our fifteen passenger van all over the road. Charley's arm hurts today and I wonder if that is why.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Perserverance

So Anna FINALLY was contacted about her organ audition to discover there will be a theory test that weekend as well. We are now in hot pursuit of Music Theory books so she will feel less freaked out about this. I am sure she knows more than she thinks and I have reminded her it is a placement test but being a good conscientious first born, she does not want to look like an idiot either. She is a calmer girl now and I told her that she also does not want to do too well and be placed higher than would be in her comfort zone. Sigh.

I am trying to get through all the laundry and keep on top of the kitchen and general clean-up. I have been having TOO MANY discussions with dear children about the need to keep after the dishes and messes etc. Gee mom, can you make everything great for Christmas, cook wonderful meals, take us where we want to go and let us read our brains out in the meantime? Or.....how about a brain rotting session in front of yet another episode of Gilligan's Island. Well kids, I too used to rot my brains in front of Gilligan's Island with not even a twinge of guilt or remorse for the neglect of my pitty bedroom, so I can say I do feel for you here but......this aint going to work.

There has also been a lot of finding and searching for lost things around here. I found my updated address book and triumphantly put it.....somewhere safe. It is lost again.

This mommy thing sure is interesting. Today was better than yesterday and I hope not to be quite as utterly exhausted tonight. Oh.....I did have bunches of fun at the pizza place yesterday noon so thank you to the husband for saving his frequent flier plan pizza punches for us. It was a nice break from the home noise and all the regulars there, which included hoards of men folk feasting on the buffet. It was just a different noise so it didn't effect me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This morning's conversations

We have had some very interesting conversations this morning. First off, my dear ten year old son asked if we had any more arteries to put on the tree. (We buckled and the tree is up - there will be NO time to do THAT before Christmas so the time was now). "Arteries?????" I asked. "OH, you mean ornaments. Do you know what an artery is?" (Clearly not as he thought they were found on Christmas trees). He knows now.

Then......dear 13 year old son asked why Mary looks so skinny after just having had a baby. "Well, son.....the people then were far more advanced and practical in those days. We have this sort of clothing today which we are all too stupid to have or too proud to wear that camouflages our figures or lack thereof after giving birth, but instead we just complain about our various wardrobes and which one we are in now. MY wardrobe now does tend to accentuate every flabby flaw and Mary was far wiser than your mama." says the mom. (Me). "Oh.....thanks mom". says the smiling son.

Dear 17 year old daughter and I discussed vampires. Hmmmm......page 200 and something and I can contribute to the conversation now. Odd story (Twilight). Definitely more a chick book.

Now I am off to the pizza place. Surprise! Dear 45 year old husband has been saving free lunch cards so I can go out with the girls. I only had to call and reschedule an appointment to accommodate and the person I had the appointment with was very understanding fortunately. Whew. I am sure I will be adding fat to the rolls but it should be fun.

Happy 3 month old Ingrid needs to get her dadoo changed and get dressed for her outing. I wonder what pizza milk is like?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Muddle, muddle

There is nothing too particularly interesting happening in our family lately except getting from one day to the next. We are done with coop till after the Epiphany and in some ways I welcome the break and in other ways, my children seem to struggle with 'free time'.

I've been reading "The Book Thief" this past week and that has been distracting me some. I am still not done with our Christmas letter and would like to get that out. Reading can put me in a reading coma, so it is hard to switch gears to get anything vocationally speaking done. But......it's a good book so thus the struggle. Perhaps I will blog about that another time.

Anna is making Christmas cookies for the bake sale. She mixed up the ginger bread cookies using my Grandmother's recipe and it makes......400. I neglected to tell her I usually half that recipe. 'Usually' means the last time I made them perhaps 3 or 4 years ago. We are also going to attempt Rosettes. These are both of the Scandinavian flavor so perhaps I am subtly trying to make inroads with the Germans at Emmaus. I would love to have a pazzelle iron to make these outstanding waffle like cookies which you roll into little tubes. They are fantastic.

Matthew and Martin are camping!! I wonder if I should have kept them home. It is COLD out there. Tent camping would obviously not be my choice of recreation. They were excited to go though so off they went.

I have been sort of a sentimental fool lately too. Ingrid is growing up and doing more 'older baby' things and then......there are those thoughts of how Anna won't be here next year and this would be her Christmas break time. Time is flying and THIS is where I am a rookie. As hard as I want to stop this from occurring, it will happen one way or another. Hopefully for her sake, IU works out for her. So far this seems to be the way things are going. I also hope of course that that the Big Three can figure out something better than what they have been doing so hopefully dh will still be employed a year from now. There are so many assumptions going on right now with what life will hand us in the future. I have some strong opinions about the Unions involvement with all this. Dh just keeps doing what he is given to do at work and I guess people at work are sort of tight lipped about the issue.

That is all that is new that I can think of at the moment.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I need a hug

My two year old is always saying this to me. "Hug, hug, I need a hug" so after a long day (at 11:00 a.m), after struggling through catechesis with two year old and five year olds not sitting too still, kids taking their sweet time getting ready for the day, my eldest announcing the organ doesn't work, and finally my two year old trying to shut the washer door on my head, I uttered....."I need a hug!". Ugh. That is the mantra of the day. The older kids find this quite charming. "Let me give you a hug mom".

I am not a huggy person by nature as my parents were not huggers (must be the old children of immigrant Scandinavians background effect - who knows?) so I am not a huge hugger myself. Perhaps I need to work on that. The week has been......long.

Last night I needed a hug as well. Dh was having mental wrestling or something and was not able to come to church or rather I told him if he needed to be alone that we would survive. I got to church and saw that "Abide with me" was on the menu and of course was thinking thoughts of looking forward to that etc. Well........the two year old strikes again. Dad is not here so instead of "Abide with me" I think we will scream instead. Senseless screaming. I hog tied him in the lounge and hoped with the door shut it couldn't be heard. Ingrid had been tossed to Erik as I grabbed the small child and ran out the back. He was mad about something and who knows what it was. Perhaps he was contemplating shutting my head in an appliance. Then, over the screaming, came the sound of the congregation and pastors singing....."Abide with me". Foiled again.

Earlier this week I discovered that our refrigerator had suffered a slow death. There is no fixing it without spending the equivalent of another fridge so for now we have the 'great outdoorerator" and the stair master to the old fridge in the basement which being old.....still works. The broken fridge was around five or six years old. Throw away society. We also have a portable wagonerator which dh came up with to tote the fridge items around?

So maybe I really need a bottle (like the two year old). Whichever it is, I am trying to keep my humor. Oh.....it did occur to me as well, that poor me has to endure screaming toddlers, fighting children, husband who has some work stuff he is dealing with causing stress, all the school stuff, house cleaning, emotional teenagers, schedules, bills that are hard pressed to get paid, blah, blah, blah and still hold it together. Perhaps that is really why I need a hug. God's peace y'all.

Monday, December 01, 2008

There were ten in the family and the little one said

"Roll over, roll over". Little Miss Ingrid rolls over, gets stuck on her arm and cries for us to rescue her. It amazes me this natural inclination of babies to roll over. The once compliant baby on the changing table, soon is grabbing everything in sight and eating it. Soon she will be crawling away from me. The little window of time where she is content to just be taken care of, fed and changed, is already slipping away. I knew this time would come soon even when it felt like forever away and perhaps I might have complained of not being to do much without holding her. Stop complaining. Her smiles are charming. She can't crawl yet and loves nothing more than to have me stand her up on my lap and make goggly eyes at her and she smiles and giggles back. Big slobbery kisses on the cheek to my littlest girl.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

7 Random things

Another post? Why not? My house is clean, most of the children are in bed and my husband is asleep on the couch......again. No he is not in time out, he just tends to nod off about this time in the evening.......

1. I was sent to the Principal's office in kindergarten. I lied to my parents about how I got my feet muddy which resulted in their calling the principal. You see I told them that my brother pushed me into the mud when I was coming home from school and so that is why my Winnie the Pooh boots were muddy and I tracked mud all over the carpeting. I did not take into consideration that I had a half day of school and he had a full day. Oops. My parents called the Principal to inquire why Steve was out wandering around when he was supposed to be in school. So, I was called out of class by the principal and.......I had to confess. Ornery young.

2. I used to run ten miles a day. This was in my junior high, high school days. I would come home from school and take off on quite the route. I was like the mail man and it didn't matter what the weather was like, off I went. I was an addict. My other addiction of practicing the french horn I think tempered this addiction in the long hall.

3. I played the french horn A LOT in high school, college days. I have the most awesome horn on the planet and it plays like a dream. It is a pre-WWII Kruspe - sigh, and is very compliant. I will try not to run upstairs and wake up Charley practicing. If I were not the mother of eight I would pursue playing professionally but.......I won't. Maybe when the youngest is five, I will take it up more seriously again. Oh, I almost forgot. The Kruspe horn was designed by a man named Anton Horner. I am not kidding........

4. My swim teacher at the Valparaiso YMCA was Al Capone's granddaughter. All I remember is that I learned to swim and I was fascinated by her gigantic form in her black swim suit. I was of the tiny, skinny variety and I think I paid more attention to what she looked like than how to swim. I did eventually learn though and she was nothing like her grandfather :o)

5. I called my horn teacher in 1985 to inform her that I was marrying a Horner. She was amused and happy for me. She was the best horn teacher on the planet too. :o)

6. I was a HUGE Paul Simon nut growing up and finally saw him in concert in April of 1991 at his "Born at the Right Time" tour. I was eight months pregnant with a certain Anna and was PLAGUED with false labor. Dad and I went and it was fantastic. I bought a "Born at the Right Time" shirt large enough for me and our upcoming bambino and amused the doctors. The one was at the concert and asked what I would have done if I went into more serious labor. I told him I would have asked if there was a doctor in the house.

7. In high school I worked at a YMCA camp and spent several weekends jumping off of cliffs at a state park. I never dared to dive off of them but have a distinct memory of a fellow camp counselor doing this. I lack the grace and style to do that and figured I was more likely to land where I was supposed to if I jumped. I also did this in the Quetico Provincial Park (spelling?). I might have dared to dive there but I can't remember (maybe I hit my head). I don't think I have ever told my parents any of this and am still amazed to this day of the things they let me do. Of course they didn't 'let' me do this as I didn't ask. I also carried a canoe on my back for a mile on a long portage there.......I guess that is fact number 7 1/2.

There you have it. It was a little hard to think of these things but hope you learned something new and that you didn't yawn too much, right Karen?

Cleaning frenzy

If I take Ingrid on a ride in her pink fuzzy snow suit every day around noon, then my house will look fantastically wonderful! She takes such nice naps after our little outings that yesterday I found my bedroom and today I dejunked much of the basement. Phew. My co-op moms will hopefully be able to notice the difference and perhaps Martin will sneeze less. I found quite a bit of stuff that I had been looking for in both locations. I even found a return that I had totally forgotten about. Ingrid just sat in her seat and snoozed during both events and it didn't even matter how much noise went on around her, she slept and I banged around throwing stuff away and putting other stuff away.

Yesterday, while cleaning my room, the rest of the kids played outside for literally hours. I didn't call them in and they didn't ask if they could come in either so......I left them out there.

Right now, I am going upstairs to enjoy a strange snack. At the farmer's market, a vendor was celebrating two years of business there and was giving each customer a pizza dough. So we dug around in the fridge for toppings and came up with mozarella cheese and pepperoni. Yum. Martin just announced it was done so.....later!

Why I hate shopping season

Is it the season of giving or getting? Are these people shoving thru to be sure they get the best deals for their loved ones????? I took Ingrid with me this morning to the farmer's market and struggled past literally herds of people who did not even flinch while I obviously stood there holding her up in her car seat waiting to be able to move forward. One lady though could get a job as the baby's advocate. This very tall man shoved past me and she said loudly "Hey! Don't you see this lady is carrying a little baby?" He ignored her and kept plowing and then she apologized to me. I just smiled and said thanks. Fortunately I knew exactly what I needed and didn't have to stay long.

I try hard to get as much 'shopping' done before Thanksgiving. The news this morning about the shoppers in New York was one of the most disgusting things I have ever heard. Sigh. When a man's life is secondary to bagging the deal, this is just sadder than sad. So.....I will stay away and have someone watch Ingrid at home if I need to go buy eggs at the market and I have noticed even the supermarket is not much better. I see people give me looks of disgust while I slowly go through the store with Ingrid in tow because I am slowing them up. I love staying sheltered in my little abode.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What I am thankful for and my kids are amazing

Starting backwards, I must say that my children never cease to amaze me. They might bicker, whine, clutter etc on any given day but given a cause they work their tails off, are reliable, can accomplish amazing things and I deeply appreciate it and am deeply spoiled. Making Thanksgiving dinner with a never ending nursing child is tricky. It is also tricky to keep the house in order while doing this. The day began pretty quietly with my using up some pumpkin from the pumpkin murder last week. I made several pans ofmuffins and a loaf of bread. Ingrid must have been happy or being held at the time. When those came out of the oven, the 24ish pound turkey went in. It was a Horner turkey so they are never small.

Next......the root soup. Matthew is the peeler, chopper, go getter in the family. My dh restored our authentic root cellar this fall and it is FULL of roots! You have to get on your shoes, coat etc. to go get any of this stuff. A root cellar must be the old time equivalent of a refrigerator for much longer keeping with less rot. It took MANY trips out there to get turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, etc. Phew. What kid would want to tromp out there and get all of this stuff willingly and cheerfully. Martin and even Charley joined in the peeling and chopping. Butcher knives are so much more fun and dramatic to chop up a butternut squash. I am sure there is an element of challenge in this undertaking so maybe that is why the boys are willing.

Anna tackled spinach salad and table setting. Martin did his share of running and peeling and cleaning. Erik hauled Stefan and Ingrid around A LOT! Anna also hand washed the wood floor and scrubbed the yuck out of the guest bathroom. Cecilia and Martin washed most of the dishes from dinner prep and Cecilia also washed the kitchen cabinets from all the drips and yuck that magically appears on cabinet. Martin made apple pie. Can you see WHY I am amazed and thankful! I was of course active in all this along with orchestrating what to do when and how to make all of this come together.

Thank you mom for the cranberry jello salad and the pies!

Things I have thought about on the day after (too busy to think much about it on the day) which I am very thankful for this year.

My husband still has a job

My husband works hard to save us money so we can afford this bunch and still be able to be generous in other ways. He also does his best to be helpful in and outside of our house in the various ways he is able. And.......he puts up with me as best he can.

I am SO thankful for the wonderful women in our coop who work tirelessly to educate my children and theirs. It is working and the kids are learning and doing so cheerfully.

I am thankful that my eldest has the study bug and is working hard to work away at her academic achievements as responsibly as she can.

I am thankful for my eldest's scholarship which will make next fall so much more manageable. Proud of her!

I am thankful for Erik's amazing work ethic and willingness to do almost any job handed him. He has a wonderful propensity to see needs of other people and is proud to help them.

Matthew is a dream in the kitchen, the home, child care etc. He works hard in school and I am very thankful he has found a Boy Scout troop he loves and can fully participate in.

Martin is also such a hard worker and very willing to do whatever he is asked to do. If there was ever a ten year old that could help a family with chores etc., he is the one.

Cecilia is the dish washer and friend and companion of her little siblings. She is beginning to stretch her wings a little and play more of a role in the daily doings around here.

Benjamin is Benjamin and I would say I am thankful for his smiley ways and his ability to stay entertained and safe without much worry. He was bug control in the garden this summer. Buckets of Japanese beetles. Wow.

Stefan. What can I say. He is doing so much better in the skin and allergy department, I thank God daily that life is not as stressful, even with a new baby, with his new ability to be happy. He is still a bottle addict among other strange things, but overall, we are really enjoying him so much with the decrease in itchiness and skin brake outs.

Ingrid is healthy, no eczema, growing and smiley and cute. What is not to be thankful for?

I am so thankful for our church and fear taking it for granted. I have posted before on all I am thankful for there so.......ditto.

I am thankful that my children have ALL of their grandparents still living and basically healthy. There are even two in their eighties now. Amazing.

I am thankful that no one makes fun of me for my gramatical and spelling errors. Thanks you guys for your patience and understanding........

I almost forgot all of my great friends who still love me and my family despite our many weaknesses and foibles.

I am sure there is much more to be thankful for but to avoid the post getting on the long side......I will leave things as they are.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cleaning and tarnish

Sorry about that last post. I felt I needed to tarnish my image a little bit as this mom of eight is not quite the wonder person that some people might think........he does think it is funny though.....excuses, excuses.

We are doing the cleaning that does not get done from week to week. Week to week cleaning includes trying to keep up with the laundry, dishes, floor washing (yes, this does happen perhaps twice a week) and keeping the clutter monster at bay. I think the clutter monster would go away if we got rid of all of their toys. Pieces, pieces everywhere. I am good at creating clutter as well with books and papers landing in random places.

I need to cook a little too as Thanksgiving is here this year. I went to the farmer's market a little bit ago and they were giving away tomatoes! I was a taker of course and tomato sandwiches are on the menu today, salad tomorrow. I think I need to tackle bread this afternoon and attempt not to trash the kitchen. The kids are all helping which is of course wonderful. We need to put together some of our dreamy 'root soup' too. I think that will be the pre-meal, ward off the grumpy wumpies tomorrow. I just like it. Perhaps I will find time to post it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hockey stick....Run over

My husband and I have a joke about this hockey stick that has been kicking around our yard. If he is in one of his hyper moods or hyper focused moods and fails to show up in a timely fashion for dinner.......I get the hockey stick. Did you know I am a husband beater? So I make an appearance in the barn or wherever he is with the hockey stick in hand. It's always a sudden appearance with little warning. He thinks this is hilarious and it keeps me in better humor as at least he laughs when he is in this sort of trouble. The hockey stick was always successful in getting him moving in the right direction. The kids would even suggest it if he was not showing up. "Get the hockey stick Mom!" Well......someone left it in the driveway and....sniff, sniff.....I accidentally ran it over. What am I going to do????? No more hockey stick. It was a cheap plastic thing but it did the trick. It has been in use for several years now. Sob. How will I get him to the table when late? He might go hungry now. Isn't this sad? I was seriously quite disappointed. He doesn't know about this yet. Maybe he WILL go hungry.

Pitch fork?????? Hmmmm........

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mornings

I like mornings but then I don't. If I wake up before everyone else then I have about an hour without any noise. My kids have a lovely habit of sleeping until someone wakes them up. Stefan doesn't always but most of the time he does. So there I sit or run around with my cup of coffee either having a quiet moment or getting stuff done without interference and I have to decide whether to wake them up. It is the hardest decision of the day. If I don't wake them up then we will be dreadfully behind but......I will have this great hour or so alone without having to send them on vacation without me. If I don't wake them up, then we won't get all the morning chores done and we'll have to start school etc and be behind in general.

If I wake them up, I might not keep my patience with selective blindness in decluttering rooms and clearing tables. The kids might fight or ignore their responsibilities until their mom reminds them. I don't like being their brains and shouldn't be their brains but sometimes it just happens that way. I DO get tired of this.

I figure that when whoever is the youngest turns five, this decision may not be so difficult as five plus year olds are pretty easy in comparison with babies and toddlers etc. I probably won't care if they sleep till eight as I will be more able to help see that evening chores are done completely etc. Evenings are nicer in general for me as it is a lot calmer and easier to deal with getting kids to bed then dealing with them all scrambling for breakfast and ignoring everything else that needs to be done.

I am whining. I will get over it. It is nighttime and I still need to run out and get the Scouts back but going to sleep is in sight. Hopefully Ingrid sleeps better tonight. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our God Our Help

The hymn "Our God Our Help in Ages Past" always reminds me of Valpo. They used to sing that hymn for every homecoming and graduation Sundays. It must have been used many Sundays in between or it wouldn't remind me of Valpo days. We sang it this morning. It reminds my older kids of another event. Being rocked to sleep or back to sleep at night. You see if you sing this hymn, rocking and patting their backs, it has the desired effect usually. No it is not a lullaby by any stretch but the line about "our hope for years to come" amongst others must have been somehow comforting to this sleep deprived mom. Anna told me she would find herself humming it as an older child and couldn't remember why she was singing it. It must be engraved in her brain from being a small child. Memories.......

I probably will be singing that hymn again this evening. Three month old (almost) with a very runny nose. She was up for an hour or so in the middle of the night last night. Poor thing. Too bad she can't blow her nose. Babies with colds are so pathetic. I am not positive it is a cold as nothing else seems wrong but her perpetual runny nose. Blah, blah, blah.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Surprise

I learned this morning that I will be flying solo this week - Monday thru Wednesday - as the dh is traveling. He forgot to tell me. Opps. Flying solo has some benefits as I think I switch into laid back mode and probably get more reading done, but with Thanksgiving on Thursday, I will probably take advantage of my kids not working on dad things, by doing some deep cleaning and more interesting cooking for Thursday. There is still school to attend to but at least Tuesday we can focus on some of this stuff.

I also tend to stay up too late while dh is away. Although if we work too hard during the day, I might fall asleep at 9:00 instead. We shall see.

I went to Valpo today for dad's bday and had a nice time. Ingrid charmed her grandparents. She cooperated at lunch and slept thru it. She seems to love her snowsuit and it's warm and snuggliness keeps her nicely sleeping. Cecilia wrote my dad a birthday letter and it said "Dear Grandpa Nancy". I think she distinguishes the grandparents via the grandma's names. I thought that was pretty cute. She asked him to write her back. I am sure it was his favorite card.

It is freezing down here in the basement so I will sign off and return to Hawaii - the land of the woodstove.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Escape artist

NEVER muse upon other people's children escaping their cribs. We have NEVER had a child who did this and either the boys taught the two year old or he figured it out on his own. What a nightmare. Yes, he could graduate to a bed now and I guess that will be the plan since his little sister will need the crib sometime in the not too distant future.

The previous seven children saw their cribs as their snugly place which they didn't mind going to. Mom always came and got them out when they woke up and mom always seemed so happy to see them at that time. The cranky monster was tamed for a few hours and now the little cherub, or the mom, were ready to face the rest of the day. Sigh. The funniest thing was that when they graduated to their regular beds, it took months for them to realize I didn't need to come get them, they could just get out of bed. Those were the days.

Stefan is upstairs complaining about being tossed back in bed again. Maybe he is realizing I mean business as it is a little quieter but perhaps I better spy on him to make sure he is not dismantling one of his brother's creations. I guess since it took till the eighth child to have this problem, I can hardly complain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Octagarion

My dad is 80 today! Wow. I find this hard to believe and I am sure he does too. We have plans to do lunch tomorrow as someone else beat me to it today. I would say most other people would not put my dad at 80 either. He is every doctor's dream of following diets, exercise, and he definitely keeps his mind busy. He is still active at church with bell choir, discussion groups, and outside of church there is the Sons of Norway group. No this is not a post about Prairie Home Companion but these groups do actually exist. There is no Sons of Sweden group as far as I know so Norwegians get his support.

Fond memories from my eighteen years or so at home would be his inexhaustible ability to listen to me......talk, and talk and talk some more. We could always count on his body sitting still listening to us ramble. We did give him a test one time and he couldn't remember anything we said but all and all he took the time to sit there. Other bonding moments included popcorn at night, love of good music, holiday concerts, daily chapel at Valpo in the college years, and a mutual desire to talk about stuff deeper than what the kids are doing, but rather stuff that involves me. Not too shabby dad.

Our most intimate excursion was to Sweden in 1998. He was 70 then and we had commiserating time to talk in excess. I learned stuff from that trip that I would NEVER have learned without that extra travel time to chat. Martin came with us as a fourteen month old little person and the stories we can tell from that journey are both hilarious and endearing.

Ingrid is reading this post and cooing.

So, Happy Birthday Dad. I look forward to lunch tomorrow and hope you have a great day today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rubber pants

I forgot about my rubber pants hunt. I bought some of those lovely things a few years ago from Babys R Us so I went back there. FIrst off I can't believe there is a store that large just for baby supplies but at least they still carry rubber pants. I asked the sales lady if they still carried them and she looked stumped. "Rubber pants.....uh.....what are those?" "You use them with cloth diapers" I patiently reply. "Oh, oh, I think I know what you want" and she took me to the disposable diaper section and showed me a package of disposable something. "Uh, no........you use them.....with.....cloth diapers......" She said something about carrying washable training pants for a 24 month old and all this time I am holding 3 month old Ingrid. I followed her and I was beginning to think I would have to order them online but, lo and behold there were rubber pants next to the training pants. They are the good old fashioned Gerber rubber pants, no frills and they work. I have never seen my kids sweat in their rubber pants so I am not sure why breathability is such an issue. They are cheap, they work and eureka, they still sell them. The store lady had never heard of such a thing before. The only hope of their still existing will be the same way I learned about them......my mother. I will have to pass this lovely skill along to my babies when there are grandbabies on the way. Cloth diapers are not hard and as many diapers as this little person creates, they MUST be cheaper. I do love the new system. I would tell you about 'the new system' but.....I need to go be responsible. Ahem......4:00 a.m. bonding events with my five year old do not motivate me to get moving. It was an experience just like Anne of Green Gables and the croup scene. He was crouping away, cough, cough, cough and finally threw up (thanks for sharing :o) ) and the coughing stopped. Phew. After talking him into going back to bed, we went and got a few more hours of sleep. Responsibility......vocation is a bad word this morning.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ingrid at Barnes and Nobles

Ingrid and I are pals of course. I ended up taking the boys to Scouts this evening and after tackling a few errands, the little person had had it with running around. So.....I made a beeline for Barnes and Noble. She was pretty much crying quite a bit at this point. The last time I was the driver for the Scouts, I went there and A LOT of people stared at us and one lady made a comment about how small she was. Why does everyone point out that she is small. Is she small compared to some of the gigantic babies I've seen? Are there no other average babies? I find this an odd observation.

Anyway, I headed for the knitting book section and found a chair in an inconspicuous spot. Yes, I found a book my family would be free to indulge me with for Christmas..... After she calmed down, (it must have been the patterns) I searched out a German dictionary for Anna and went to check out. The man behind the counter said "Cute baby". He paused, stared, then said "Snotty". What could I say? So I said "Well, that's honesty for you." The man kept staring. I sort of snickered and had to look away. He would not stop staring at her! People say and do THE ODDEST THINGS! What does it mean if my nearly three month old has a runny nose? Should I lock myself up? Or.....what does it mean when they comment how small she is? Weird. I just do not know what to say back. People with babies must not go anywhere unless they are at the grocery store past my bedtime. I think that is one of the few places I see babies. Or maybe I just don't go anywhere. Actually, I am such a klutz that I am sure my inability to move smoothly through a store with a whimpering infant just adds to their need to say something.

So that is this evenings adventure.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Little Miss Ingrid

Little Miss Ingrid
Sat on her tuffet
Spitting out curds and whey

The poor girl blurps and blurps. I have found myself driving down the road with my blurp rag on my shoulder. Always be prepared and armed to clean up blurp. I wonder that looks like for the drivers coming in the other direction? Fortunately we have blurp rags in abundance. I have taken up the cloth diaper brigade again with Ingrid. I used cloth with the first four but Charley's Europe journeys put me over the edge and I entered into the disposable diaper world. I discovered a system that is not so hard so this has been a lot easier. Perhaps I will blog with my resources sometime. It is tempting to put Stefan in cloth but I don't really want to man two diaper pails. I would rather not mix Ingrid's easy diapers with the more, ahem, dirty variety.

Certainly Ingrid must be getting enough to help her out in the growing department. She 'explodes' with great regularity and I need to keep the diaper bag better stocked for 'long' outings like church. I resurrected the Lands End diaper bag as I need more room for her extra clothes etc. I have attempted to take cloth diapers with too and they definitely take up more room.

Another riveting post about my life. Blurping and diapers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Believing what you read

Since I have kids of all ages I have been struck by the natural progression of learning and that what the books say about their cognitive development is absolutely right. I studied these developments in school but how many people get the chance to see them all at the same time and have the experience with each age level to see the end result. I still agree with my resource in Mr. Maloney in Teach Your Children Well, that some kids need to hear things ten thousand times before they remember it. It is not just that kids turn ten and they magically learn. I do think that cognitive leaps do help, but the poor mom has to wait for that. Nervous laughing.....

I have also been a little ticked off at the homeschooling grammar world. There is Simply Grammar and other such curriculum that gives them just a little bit of grammar a day. The Well Trained Mind recommends Rod and Staff and now that I see it in action I know why! When we homeschoolers scoff at busy work, we need to stop and think what is the difference between busy work and work that trains, trains, trains the child in sentence structure and writing in general through writing the problems out. This seems probably obvious to some people but I do wish I had my older children do more of this when they were younger. Now they are back peddling and having to learn this stuff late and without a lot of time to put it into practice.

When someone tells me their child couldn't spell till high school, I will now believe them. I have had my share of kids who spell in gibberish and now......are starting to get it. I will still bang my head against my portable board when it takes literally years to reach these points but hey, they are reaching it and so there is hope for the younger ones showing signs of late blooming in spelling.

It is easier to relax while beginning Benjamin's reading journey. Most homeschoolers start having panic attacks as the grandmas quiz their grandchildren on what they are doing in school. "Well, he is flopping around between rooms and hopes to be recognized and communicate with someone or.......they flop around hoping mom won't notice them quietly leaving the room." Benjamin goes to Science with Mrs. H. but doesn't know how to read???? I love homeschooling. He is very proud of his Botany time.

Ingrid is napping so time to.......RRRRUUUUNNNNNNN!!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A typical day

When we are not having coop, we stay home and have math, reading, homework etc. I feel as if each of these is a test of perseverance. I just recently added Benjamin to my to do list and the academic day begins with him now. He is learning some sounds and I stare at him and then the ten year old boy across the table who NOW makes comments of disbelief that his little brother doesn't know this stuff. The ten year old boy is just now reaching a better comfort zone with reading. So Benjamin is just beginning and is not quite 6. Will it take till he is ten till he is comfortable reading? Phew. Don't have a panic attack Karin. There is an even older sibling who took till he was nearly eleven to read with any level of confidence. I have spent A LOT of time in my life teaching children to read and it is my most daunting task. I had two kids learn basically from eaves dropping so I suppose that made up for some of the tedium. Benjamin is cutely enthusiastic right now so I will attempt to stay consistent and keep up with him.

After reading lessons with Benjamin, I have a few kids working on brushing up on their spelling skills. This is going well and I am happy to have willing participants. I tried all summer to get to this subject with them and it took till the flu broke out to get them on board. We missed a few weeks of coop due to the length of the bug to get to everyone.

After spelling everyone works on math. The need to persevere and keep after their grading and corrections is definitely a test of my endurance. The baby in the meantime of all of these subjects has been snacking and snoozing all day. I hold, hold, hold her and juggle books and other kids asking questions between it all.

This afternoon we squeezed in a dvd on the Constitution which was less than riveting. I think I took a nap in there somewhere.

I resisted all temptation to do the dishes or do laundry so I could focus on these kids and their subjects. The older kids seemed unable to be too serious about their math by the time we got to it. I do think overall it was a good day. Yesterday was much the same.

Ingrid is oddly asleep and seems to be asleep for the night. Now I don't know what to do first or if I have the energy to do anything. So ends another exciting day on the ranch. Anna and I are watching Dumbo and I would have to say this is a very strange movie. I put this movie on for Anna and Erik when Matthew was a baby thinking I could catch a nap and they both burst into tears shortly after it began. That ended the nap. I guess I would cry too if my mother was taken away from me. Very weird.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nose blowing lessons

Benjamin does not know how to blow his nose. A very likable member of Emmaus caught wind of this (or heard the snorting) and offered to teach him how. He prides himself on his ability to teach this skill to children. Well......I have offered my children money to do this so perhaps I will have to get him a gift card if he succeeds. But, he discovered last night during what he thought would be the first and last lesson, that Benjamin truly is a challenge. I have had many people mention to me that he should learn to blow his nose as his snorting is pretty gross, but frankly, I already have tried and tried and teaching nose blowing is harder than you think if the nose blower doesn't come by this skill naturally.

The child and his teacher paid rapt attention to one another during this charming lesson. Benjamin nodded in understanding to the directions to close his mouth and breath out through his nose but......he sucked in anyway. His teacher smiled, tried not laugh, and kept prodding him with tips and......Benjamin is not demonstrating understanding. He now has an assignment to practice breathing through his nose. I somehow need to remember to remind him to practice.
How to remember this with my mile long of list of things to remember will be the trick. Maybe we can offer a pizza party in celebration as seriously, a kid being able to blow his nose and not gross out everyone around him is no small feat where this child is concerned. He is still very smiley and charming though despite his handicap.

Did you learn anything or were you prompted to deep thinking????? :o) THIS is the deep thinking I process during my days. :o) Keep smiling, like Benjamin.

Learning anything from my blog

There is a lot of chat amoungst the bloggers about awards for learning something from other's blog. Really, I am not sure what anyone would learn from my blog other than what life is like here on the homestead. I don't see anything glaringly educational from how things are done here. Or, maybe that is not what people mean. I guess I don't feel I learn a lot from blog reading but it is enjoyable to hear other people's thoughts and what they are doing. There is always the political views but frankly, unless I had any spare time at all, I do not feel confidant enough to make comment. My dh has been reading the Wall Street Journal lately, and he maybe has more knowledgable opinions to offer but blogging is not his thing.

So, a new post is forthcoming on......nose blowing. What can you learn from that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicken chores

So now that there are no chicken chores, the boys are remembering every evening to try to get one of their siblings to shut in the chickens. Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! This was a chore that was rarely remembered but NOW we remember it. It is odd to be able to just wisk food scraps into the garbage and not have anyone storing them on the counter for the chickens and forgetting them till they rot. I do honestly miss seeing them in the yard. Our outdoor pictures just won't be the same and we won't need to be quite so persnickety about people checking their shoes at the door. Phew. Chickens do take up a lot of my brain cells so I guess I might replace those thoughts with thoughts of......weeding or.......getting the counter cleaned off more often.

We have had a few odd days or rather weeks of only one day a week of co-op. I am not exactly as organized as I was when we had two days a week. There has been one interruption after another due mainly to sickness. Wow. Are we done for this month? Here's hoping.

My camera is off to the camera repair shop on warranty. How can I do without a camera with a two month old around? I guess I will pick up a few disposable cameras or something. If I knew the big three or at least two were going to somehow recover, then I might go get a cheap digital but things might not go that way. Hmmmm........decisions, decisions.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Chickenless

The rest of the chickens left just a few minutes ago. Does that mean I should change the name of my blog? We probably will get some more chickens in the spring but we also may enjoy our freedom so much that we don't . What will Charley and I do now that we don't have to ask the infamous question, "Did you lock in the chickens, boys?" What will the boys do knowing they can stay in their beds and not have to go out in the dark when they have forgotten. I think the mom will vote for no chickens. Free range chickens are sort of messy in an all around way. They leave deposits everywhere, dig up my flowers, and create a huge mess in the coop.

I would still like broiler chickens and if we get layer, only have enough for us.

The only other excitement around here was the 40 pound coon that landed in Matthews trap. Chip discovered it and managed to get in a tussle but doesn't seem too worse for wear. We drug him to the vet for a rabies shot update just in case. He was less than thrilled about that and got a clean bill of health.

Ingrid just posted this post before I was done so some people may have gotten an odd post. She was trying to tell me to stop typing and go change her diaper. ;o)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stefan's bday so far

So he began his bday at 3:00am, screaming from his crib. I have no idea why he was up but at least this screaming did not involve cleaning anything up. It took Charley and I a combined four times up the stairs to convince him it was night time. Charley even took him out on the front porch to show him it was dark. Happy Birthday Stefan! Needless to say he has been grump ever since. He then got up at 6:20 and Matthew got him up that time and took him downstairs for a "Ba". Ever since the time change his schedule seems all mixed up. That is one thing I have against day light savings time, you cannot explain it to a two year old.

I made him his favorite meal for lunch and we sang him happy birthday. He cried. He smiled when everyone said 'yay' at the end. He is now back in bed and the rest of his family is resting up for the rest of his bday. After church tonight we will have cake and give him his present. I got him that Usborne book where the mouse goes all over the house. We have an old one but it is getting pretty worn out so thought he might enjoy a new one. I will have to keep it safe from his siblings.

Ingrid slept from sometime in the evening on my shoulder (I think 10 something) till 7:30 this morning. I thought at one point in the night she threw up but I must have been dreaming. But I also think Charley heard it too. Hmmmm.......it was a long night.

We are looking forward to church this evening. I feel like I haven't been there much in a long time and I guess that is true with all the sickos. Maybe life will get back to normal. My house needs to get out of normal. Perhaps I should have just gotten up and cleaned in the night while Ingrid was sleeping?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This seems too easy

I was the sickest (Yippee?), Matthew came in second, but otherwise this flu has seemed too easy in light of how sick some other families have gotten. Duh, I am not complaining but it seems too good to be true. Benjamin, Martin and Anna still seem fine.....hmmmm......

Today we are going to watch this video that explains the Electoral College. That seems appropriate for not so sick crowd. I want to understand this process better. The explanations I have heard still perplex me. Maybe we will get wild and crazy and watch some of the other government dvds I picked up. They were cheap and claimed to be only instructive and not entertaining. That is what it said on Amazon. Does it have to be entertaining?

Benjamin can't blow his nose. I have offered money to whoever can teach him and so far there have been no takers. Who said we have a poor economy? Not one kid in the family or even a few outside of the family, have taken me up on this. Stefan can blow his nose........

I need to remember Stefan turns two tomorrow. Being a seventh child and having a birthday seems anticlimatic. His mother is having to put a posty note up to remember????? Hmmm.....
I don't even have a little something for him to unwrap. I don't know what that something would be though either.....

Election day.....oh boy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Five down, five to go?

I haven't checked with everyone but it seems that five out of ten have been afflicted by the stomach flu plague. If we count Cecilia not eating for two days a week ago than we are perhaps up to six. I am daring to eat something today. When a family of our size is potentially exposed to such a plague they shudder in anticipation of what might be to come. At least I do as I am the clean-up brigade. It is a good thing I was the first one to go as now I am freed up to tackle what is to come. Isn't this a pleasant post?

I suppose I should go check out the ones who have not appeared yet. I might even dare to eat some chicken noodle soup. My smallest children have discovered the joys of jello. Charley was lamenting that Stefan learned how to say jello but yet doesn't seem to ever say daddy.......sad dad.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Something unusual happened yay!


I (as usual) forgot that Stefan was bumping around the house aimlessly. Ingrid was asleep (wonderfully long nap) and I was frenetically cleaning the kitchen. Charley did say something about keeping Stefan out of the new room as he had been painting the windows.......and......I forgot. Just like the kids, I forgot. Shocking isn't it? He kissed the window....twice. We are now contemplating if we should leave his lip marks on the sill.


By the way......shhhhhh........no comments to the husband about everything else he needs to do around here........he might literally self-cum bust.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Not much to say here either

The excitement in my life is that little Ingrid was up most of the night last night. I am heading to bed soon. After Co-op today and the service I felt like I could fall asleep on my feet and couldn't figure out why I was so tired. Charley reminded me that he vaguely remembered me pleading with Ingrid to please go to sleep in the middle of the night. I only got on the computer to send my mom the blogsite since she had to start over again on her computer.

School went well......uh......my windows in the new room are getting painted - yay. I am behind in the laundry but ahead in my reading for my class that I teach. Next is to reread "To Kill a Mockingbird". I have not read so much since several kids ago and I have certainly not read so many 'classics' since college.

I think Ingrid care is making me less capable of being able to think outside myself and survival so I am not too sure what the strategy is to survival but keep muddling along from day to day. She is getting sweeter by the day though with great big baby smiles and little cooing noises.

Oh....I should check the schedule to make sure 'Mockingbird' really is next......

Nighty, nighty

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snow and Nate

I assume a lot of people got snow last night. The kids always love the first snow and stand around gawking at it in the morning. It is supposed to be 65 by the weekend so this first round is short lived.

I went to Barnes and Nobles last night with Ingrid while the boys were at Scouts. This was a peak at how the rest of the world lives. There were two tables of women knitting and one large table of women participating in a Book Club but I didn't hear much discussion going on about a book. A man was working on a school project with his young son and then there was me with the little baby. She was basically happy most of the time but I have noticed that when a baby her age starts crying that the looks that come my way have some sort of shock that I am out with such a little one. I usually get asked if this is my first baby etc as I am alone with her. I need some sort of placard that states "This is my eighth, babies cry, and yes, I think I know what I am doing don't worry yourselves with why I am here".

I also ran into the mother of one of my students from 1987. It was a pleasure to see her and I asked what her son, who must be in his early 30's, is doing now. He is a relatively new dad and he and his wife are expecting number two now. Nate was something of a rascal when he was in school but frankly I liked him. His mother said something about how he had some trouble with the teachers back then but couldn't remember talking with me about him too much. My favorite memory of this smart child was of when he cut a hole in his dictionary just the right size to put his game boy, or whatever they called them then, in. It was reading time and he was very intent on his......dictionary.......and I was trying not to laugh but had to call him on the carpet for this. We had a sort of understanding between us that was silent but he did seem to sense that his impishness was cute but needed to be controlled. His mom mentioned the trouble he had with his eighth grade teacher and that did not really surprise me as she was a no nonsense, sort of intolerant of impish kids sort of teacher and also looked down her nose at the new teachers. I guess I had trouble with her too as surely I didn't know what I was doing. Oh.....Nate is a stockbrocker now with his dad. I didn't inquire how that was going for him......

That was the evening. Now I am waiting for the kids to finish jobs that should have been done last night. Sigh. Will we ever get going this morning????

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tribal Cookware

A woman at church made that phrase up in reference to preparing food for the pastor's family. I was thinking about this wonderful stuff, better known as cookware for a lot of people or what church basements have to prepare food for a lot of people. Preparing food for large families is quite intimidating for some people. The basic rule of thumb is to double the recipe enough to feed appoximately 12. This accounts for small people and pregnant or nursing mothers who tend to drool after larger quantities of food anyway. There are also the teenage sons who consume more than usual or lick the pot clean. The shorter folk usually do not eat as much so it all evens out. Yes, the dads have a tendancy to eat more but not always.

I have no idea why I am telling you all this. I was just upstairs looking at the mess in the kitchen and was pondering why we never have any clean surfaces and it occurred to me that it is because we cook with tribal cookware. It takes up more room on the counter than small pots and pans so naturally it shrinks any kitchen. If you have ever wondered what to give for Christmas to a large family, the gift might include tribal cookware. Pastors with large families and limited budgets always love tribal cookware or perhaps I am imagining this. I suspect the wife would appreciate it. My mom has provided a lot of my tribal cookware and my dh has kicked in a few key pieces but never for Christmas. The mom has given cookware for Christmas though. This stuff does tend to cost more and is harder to find so that makes it all the more appreciated. I know I have appreciated mine.

Hmmmm.......we have been cooking for around 25 people a week for at least one meal. This is sort of challenging to come up with easy recipes that satisfy a variety of tastes. So far this has worked pretty well and we will surely have to resort to repeats soon.

I am done ranting about cookware now and no.....I do not think I need more tribal cookware, I am just pondering it's usefulness. I have packed up my 'young couple' cookware in case some kid wants it some day. Maybe I'll need it again! Who knows.......then it is really 'young/old couple cookware'.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rain Gear and other stuff

Ok, I am done for now carrying on about Emmaus. I went with Anna to get her rain gear for her biking excursions. Yes, this is an investment but I am sure they will come in handy in Bloomington as well. It would not have occurred to me to get her shoe covers but it is true that her feet will get wet if it is raining outside. At least at the distances she is biking right now they surely would get wet. She has biked twice recently in the rain and didn't say anything to me about her feet getting wet but......they did. Shoes are expensive so to me it was worth the investment.

We dutifully planned the meals for this next week. It is possible we may not need any of those meals as there is a flu bug going around but I will cook ahead of the game so if I am not up to it there is something to eat. I forgot the Keilbasa.....opps. I guess I can use the deer baloney instead.

I haven't told dh but sometime in mid-December might be a good time to make a visit to PA. Yes, we would miss church at Emmaus...... I should look into hotel costs etc. It will take two rooms to cover us. My to do list is miles long.

We have caught up on the laundry and some mysteriously missing items have turned up as well. Charley's hilarious scrapbook is back. Now we can reread his farm poetry and boy scout scribe notes. We should do that every Christmas or something.

Anna picked up some McCain paper dolls for the fashion information. She is getting an education. We have decided to watch the movie I picked up about the electoral college tomorrow sometime so she can wow people with her vast knowledge of the process.

Well, I am now going to try to spend some time keeping my sanity. Calgon!!!! No comment from the Blogger. I plead the Fifth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Organist

No, not my daughter but THE organist at Emmaus. We are not only blessed with awesome pastors but with an awesome organist. She could be playing at another church as her ability is certainly worth more than we are capable of paying her. But despite a challenged budget, both hers and the church's, she perserveres as our main organist. I have been blessed my whole life with above average organists including Phil Ghering, Bill Beerman, Martin Gene, Rosemary Collingwood, and some others. THe above four have Masters and PHD's in organ. I have been to their concerts, had the pleasure of leadership in worship and had the delight of playing with them. What makes a quality organist is one who prepares and plays a wide variety of preludes and postludes that fit the season and the tone of the service. They utilize the instrumentalists they have on hand and work with choirs to be used at appropriate times during the service. They do not distract but enhance the Worship.

Our organist does not have either a Master's or PHD in Organ but frankly she has attained the same skills as those who do. No doubt the above organists have talent from their said degrees but (ok I will say her name) Sandy has seen and heard and strived to learn all that is needed to be an awesome organist. To me, an awesome organist is able to improvise and smoothly transition introductions, alternate settings to hymns, and make use of the instrument no matter what it is. She can do all of this. She has taken the time for further study which certainly has enhanced the services at Emmaus and her previous congregations.

Another reason I know she is a gem of an organist is that she has been a great teacher to my dd Anna for a LONG time. I believe Anna knows what she knows of the service as a result of Sandy's good training and insight. Thank you Sandy. Anna has been doing great this year and she has a lot to be thankful in a teacher like you. I appreciate your trust in our young daughter to serve the church in your absense. She is not where you are yet in ability but you have certainly set the stage in example and love for quality organ playing in the Worship setting.

Sandy also has very humbly taken on our church nursery during Bible Study and has been a huge blessing to the Moms who have not been able to attend Bible Study for years. Your service is truly appreciated Sandy and I am sorry I forgot to mention it in the what's great about Emmaus post. Thank you from this mom of little people.

Emmaus part two

The other question discussed was "What is different about Emmaus". I did not answer completely because I didn't think of it till last night while laying awake from drinking caffeine like a naughty person. So......one thing that is definitely different and struck me right from the get go was the concept of being encouraged to do what I am given to do - my vocation as wife and mother. I have never experienced a church where it was not only ok to live within my vocation but also to be reminded that doing so is more than just a cute domestic idea. What a relief! I am not saying either that any previous church discouraged me from doing this but the issue of vocations never came up in those terms. Today I am only mildly involved with a fundraising committee and I don't find people chasing me down to figure out what I can do for this or that other committee. I suppose the other moms before we joined helped people figure out that just because they were at home moms did not mean that they had lots of time on their hands. I don't have an overriding sense of guilt about any committee really and I think that is partly because Emmaus is pretty much a humble little church and 'programming' is not their way of life. Catechizing people is the way of life there, realizing that no amount of cute gatherings will change anyone's desire to come and hear God's Word. So again.....phew.......I am not expected to produce some fantabulous program i.e. Sunday School, activities, VBS supervisor etc.......as someone I know likes to say......SWEET!

In short terms I really like;

Family Bible Class
Pastors who teach the Bible Classes
Fantastic, widely varied hymnody -
College students attending
Not having the most children
Kids all over the place
Great music in general
the children's choir
Being able to laugh a little over not meeting the budget and also not having that brought to our attention except in Voter's meetings.
Being happy that we are getting closer to meeting the budget without anyone constantly reminding us that we are not.
The Pastor picks the hymns
Not having classes for the kids divided by grade levels and the pastors teach them all
The kids being VERY involved as torch bearers, crucifers, acolytes, ushers and musicians.
The youth helping out at funerals.
The youth decorating the church at Christmas and Easter.
Hmmmm......I am sure I could think of more.
Weeks of Divine Services after Christmas and Easter.
No Lay Readers unless a pastor is gone on Sundays
High Church in general
Appreciation of the use of vestments

What I don't like:

The Pastors take vacation every once in a great while - ok, ok I guess even they could use a break.
Our family taking vacation as that means we won't be at Emmaus on Sunday.
Pastors going to Russia for nearly a month.
Bake Sales
Having sick kids and missing a service.


Secrets kept from prospective members:

Bake Sales
No air conditioning in the summer
Not a lot of talk about the budget.......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Emmaus

So I spent three and a half hours talking to a friend about what I love about Emmaus and since a certain someone was lamenting about how he doesn't hear much about what people love about Emmaus........here goes.

Emmaus is the church in a dream world. True it is full of sinners of all sorts but......what I love most is the pastors don't beat around the bush, but preach the law and gospel with no apologies and it drips the forgiveness of sins. What's not to love? I know without a shadow of a doubt that my children will be WELL catechized by both pastors and not only that, my kids feel very free to approach their pastors with any question, any time. Both my pastors are kids at heart which is also refreshing to say the least. I never feel that they are on some pedestal above me but trust that they do what they are given to do, are more than well versed in God's word, and have the humility to admit their weaknesses and struggles as well.

When I go to church, I go to church to worship and that is what happens. I do not expect (or want) to be entertained and I have no fear of that happening. True, some random funny analogy may pop up in Bible class but I just see that as a future opportunity to tease my pastors.

My pastors pastor. Yea!!!!!! When I need a pastor I have one. Make sense? I have two as a matter of fact and I can rest easy knowing that they both take their offices VERY seriously and I can totally trust them in whatever capacity I need their trust. Confession and absolution for instance is a blessing beyond words and it is the gospel in action for me. C and A is not a law I HAVE to do but rather something I hate to miss.

There is Holy Communion EVERY Sunday and often times in between. Here is one of the best parts. My children LOVE to go and hear the Gospel and receive His gifts for THEM. They look sad and disappointed if th ey can't go. They in fact look shocked if we are not going. Pinch me, am I in heaven? There is aservice in a few hours as a matter of fact (and I better go feed the kiddos) and my boys can't go as they have one of those obligatory 4H meetings. Erik just asked me again if they were really going to the pig meeting or couldn't they go to church instead. "No son, I am sorry you cannot go to the Divine Service this evening, you have to go to the pig meeting.". Sad faced son........

We at Emmaus are catechized for life. Phew. I haven't graduated yet. What a refreshing view. We love our pastors, we love our parishioners with all our weirdoisms and we muddle along in Christian love.

The children might outnumber the adults at this point. We have not officially counted to figure this out but it appears that way to me.

How did this happen? Through the faithful preaching of the pastors and the faithful catechizing of it's people. Also through the faithful giving of God's gifts in the Sacraments. I am not sure I am putting that exactly right and I am sure there is a better way to put it but.......that basically says it the way it is.

No this was not inspired by October being "support your pastor month" but it was just interesting to reflect on my conversation this afternoon.

Food.....must feed my children before the service.......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A new sign of hard times

On the MSN news website today there was a headline saying something about how sales of baby formula was down and that this was a sign of hard times. The article went on to say that not only were people buying less formula but that another sign of hard times was that women were resorting to having to breastfeed their babies. WHAT! Now there is some horrifying news if I ever heard it. The comments with the article were quite funny as well. One woman pointed out that this 'horrifying' news was the best news she had heard in a long time. Shocking, women taking care of their babies and nursing them. The poor women.

Another bizarre article stated that less people were using credit cards and this must mean they had maxed out their cards. A reader pointed out that perhaps less people were using their credit cards as they were making a change in their spending and perhaps were using cash instead. Do people who write the news think about what they are writing? We too are trying to get out of the credit card habit. We started this habit when the kids were little and the fear of having our children stolen while paying for our gas at the station began. It was easier on a hot day to just handle it at the pump. We do pay it off every month but it is true that spending too much is MUCH easier with the card then with cash. So.....biting the bullet I hope to have us paying with cash for gas and groceries completely this month. Budgets just have to happen and we have been very much lazy in adhering to any sort of budget in the last five or so years. It just sneaks up and becomes a bad habit.

The news has been VERY interesting lately with this whole ongoing economy discussion. The kids are paying attention and they see the craziness of some of the 'news' on how to save money too. It seems to me if the news would not be SOOOO negative that the economy would not keep spiraling downwards.

So, good news folks, women are having to breastfeed their babies. Don't despair! There might be some better adjusted children and mothers on the horizon. No, do not take this as a judgement if you bottle fed your children (you too mom - I am mostly sane). I just find this 'news' amusing.

Another Day in my life

Thinking about Ivan I must say there are only seasons of life in Hornerdom that seem like a sentence in prison camp. There are days in the summer where we have spent the whole day, the whole family, working on the garden, animals, canning etc and there is no down time. This goes on for weeks. So that is what the Anna and I are thinking about. The rest of the year is the work that goes with a large family- laundry, perpetual kitchen clean-up etc.

Gatsby was more depressing to me than Ivan. It was about a different kind of selfishness and the characters did not even seem to realize a single thought of survival but more of what they could get for themselves from others. Yikes. I read that book in high school and am not sure I could quite understand it then but I do think it was worth the kids reading no matter how depressing.

It also occurred to me that a person could think I view my family as a life sentence. No, but the reality is that little people play a factor in my life and have for a while. I don't dislike little people but as the Concordian Sisters put it, sometimes it is hard to be bothered by their every need that keeps going and going. I forget that the husband goes to a job where people are stressed and look forward to no pay raises. I live in my little bubble world of changing diapers and figuring out what is for dinner. I shouldn't be depressed, but sometimes I am......go figure.
I am thankful for all the little faces here and relish the last year with one of them. I see the now 16 year old contemplating what to do with his life and know that his time is limited here too.

The next class read is "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" which is about the Great Depression I think. Ha! That should cheer me up. I remember a friend laughing at me when I was in a period of depression for chosing to read "Angela's Ashes". "What were you thinking????" she asked. I don't know but it was a page turner.

Today was better than yesterday, at least in this house. I was able to move around the house and get a few things done while Matthew held sleeping Ingrid. Hopefully we can get through a whole lesson in math this afternoon.

Oh.....I think the leaves falling off the trees does not help my disposition either.......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One day in the life

I really enjoyed reading Ivan D which sort of surprised me. I had been told it had bad language in it and that it was rather depressing. I don't know. (yes, it had bad language but it certainly was not of the Eddie Murphy frequency) I guess I found it encouraging that despite the horrible conditions of cold, pathetic nutrition, fear and hard labor that this man could adapt to these conditions and survive. He wasn't really whining but explaining life in a prison camp. Anna and I did sort of chuckle that life in Horner land can sometimes feel like a prison camp with endless work that needs to be done or is created. Our neighbor's, the kids adopted grandparents, have stated that if there was some sort of crisis that our kids would survive as they have certainly experienced hard work and it seems normal.

Thankfully our class discussion did help dear Anna and I evaluate that we are far from starving and that she won't be sentenced to ten more years for 'loafing'. She had stated that Horner kids get an automatic 18 upon birth. The kids did one time pour cement till one in the morning so the cement pouring part was near and dear to her heart (LOL) and also the pride Ivan took in his work. We could even name a boy Shuchov (spelling?) if there was another boy.

All laughing aside and yes, we most likely sound twisted, I suppose all our days are like Ivan's in that we have a choice to be whiners or learn to adapt to our circumstance and do what we are given to do. That too was discussed in class. Ivan and his comrades did what they were called to do and did receive 'daily bread' despite how disgusting it was. Their life was simple with little to take care of in the line of 'stuff' and they had a spirit of survival that we simply don't think much about. In a way I would love to reread this book if I had time. I am thankful I know where my next meal is coming from and I have the blessing of sitting in a chair taking care of the baby without fear of consequence.

On to the "Great Gatsby"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Birthday month

October is birthday month around our house. It feels like every day there is something related to birthdays going on as we also have several close friends with birthdays around our family birthdays. I should have reminded my kiddos to call a fellow birthday boy today.....sorry....

Everyone has had nice birthday celebrations and times with friends so there is not complaints especially from the kids. I always enjoy taking the birthday celebrants out to lunch and have some one on one time with them. Matthew's godparents took him out for dinner where he discovered the joys of Logans. He was most impressed with the peanut shell throwing. He recommended his brother go there for his birthday.

I received a box full of cookies from our organist and......I have shared some and actually been disciplined in not hogging them. Only two today :o) I can't get away with too much indulging without tipping the scales the other direction.

My college roommate called on my birthday which was especially nice. I had failed to call her to tell her we were expecting and that we already had the baby. She laughed. I called her the next day on her birthday and had a longer, more informative conversation and caught up some more. Obviously our bdays are a day apart and we did well calling one another for a long time but kids and life have made calls fewer and farther between. The gift of a good friend is not holding that against you and picking right up where we left off. Thanks Elise!

Our desktop computer is apparently toast so will be checking in less frequently.....one more Horner bday to go!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How pathetic it really is

So we are having guests over....soon......not sure exactly when but anyway............I had some fantastic cookie bars at a friend's house the other day during a 'watch the debate' social event and I decided to make them for our guests. We are sickeningly organized this morning and the lunch is all prepared and I was mixing the cookies in the mixer. My dear little Cecilia said something to the effect of "Did Grandma Martinson make up those cookies?" So does that mean that only Grandma M makes cookies for her? Does it mean that she has never seen her mother do such a thing before (yes)? Erik was cackling in the other room. "Yes, mom, your making cookies is truly a shock." Smirk, smirk. Ok kids, I know that I never make desert, I buy it - ice cream. This revolutionary idea from my debate/church friends might see you eating more cookies. She said to just take the cookie recipe and put it in a bar pan instead of plopping them all out and making a mess. The mess is why I never make cookies. There is the bowl, the cookie sheets, the cookie drying stuff, the table covered with crumbs from the cooling......really, I think this is ridiculous. I am a roll maker.

This quote happened once before. Erik was around two years old and he had hit his head and had a pretty good cut. Thus started the mom debate as to whether I should take him for stitches. A friend of mine was a nurse so we hauled over to her house. She took sympathy on the poor little boy and offered him a frosted cookie. He just sat there on the counter and stared at it but didn't eat it. Yes, Erik. That is a cookie. I am sure you are not familiar with such things. The guilt, the guilt.......maybe as a grandma I will make cookies. My mom did make cookies when I was a kid.

The cookies will vanish in no time flat. I suppose that is another reason I do not make cookies. The whole family lacks the self discipline to restrain themselves from sneaking cookies. The mom included....... Cookie tins? Why bother? Hide the cookies from the kids and everyone else but there has to be someone who has such discipline to do this. Maybe Matthew.

I guess I should go make sure the cookies are still around. Heh, heh, heh.......